Blaska's Blog is smokin' hot today!
Who will be the next Steve Jobs? You simply must read his sister's eulogy, published online in Sunday's New York Times. (I didn't see it in my print edition.) I want to thank his birth parents for choosing life.
Chris Rickert has a nice gig, writing opinion for the Wisconsin State Journal. Well, not too much opinion. My sense is that his editors don't want the full monty, preferring fig leaves and dim lighting.
Yet, every now and again, the young man hits the sweet spot, like his Thursday piece on the stupidity of giving the teachers union two days off in October for their convention. (Blaska's motto: just say no to the teachers union.)
In Sunday's column Chris "reaches out" to local celebrity advocates from both the political Left and the Right, supposedly in the spirit of Reach Out Wisconsin.
Rickert suggests Reach Out Wisconsin's mission is to combat divisiveness. In that vein, he quotes UW political scientist Barry Burden as suggesting Democrats and Republicans submit to a week-long retreat "somewhere in the North Woods."
How about Mellen, the site of the proposed iron mine?
I get the idea: Mark Pocan lets himself fall backwards and the Fitzgerald brothers catch him, then everyone toasts marshmallows. But that kind of kumbaya short-sells the very worthwhile debate we are having here in Wisconsin and nationally.
It is a fundamental question: What kind of nation will become? One that takes its cues from an all-wise big government that succors the wants of every layabout in Occupy Wall Street? Or a limited government in the Jeffersonian tradition that allows its citizens to enjoy the fruits of their successes and to learn from their failures?
My understanding of Reach Out differs from Rickert's. I've actually attended one of their monthly sessions. (In fact, I was the first to identify the movement as the small exception in my "Madison liberals have no interest in opposing viewpoints" op-ed.)
The group's purpose is not to "end divisiveness," but to debate ideas with a measure of civility. Reach Out Wisconsin itself says it is dedicated to "promoting a more respectful attitude toward people with opposing viewpoints."
That would mean no blowing vuvuzelas in a dissenter's ear. No drowning out a conservative's speech. No invective. No harassing elected officials. No cynical Capital Times conspiracy theories. It means actually debating issues, not impugning motives.
Agitation and masturbation
Speaking of the great national debate, most communities around the nation have had enough of the Occupy Wall Street moochers and are firing up the steam cleaners. A little urban renewal.
I use the word "debate" here in an ironic sense. OWS famously has no message other than I'm here, now take care of me.
The New York Times reported Sunday that Occupiers in Denver "urged followers and supporters to bring supplies, and then to call the governor and mayor to express outrage for allowing conditions to persist that protestors said were dangerous." A chocolate mint on the pillow would be appreciated, as well.
This is causing heartbreak for demoralized Leftists everywhere, especially at The Nation, which treated the motley mob as their prayed-for incarnation of the Tea Party.
The Occupiers are the children of the Big Government nanny state. That explains why Mark Block's "cigarette man" ad for Herman Cain has become such a viral sensation. "In your face, Nanny State." Don't play it safe, vote for the Tea Party rebel.)
Another metaphor suggests itself. The Daily Cardinal reported last week that:
City officials temporarily denied Occupy Madison a new street use permit Wednesday after protesters violated public health and safety conditions and failed to follow the correct processes to renew or amend a permit. ...
A neighboring hotel's staff allegedly voiced concerns about having to recently escort hotel employees to and from bus stops late at night due to inappropriate behavior, such as public masturbation, from street protesters.
Recall Scott Walker, fondly
More evidence that Gov. Walker will not be recalled. The man's numbers just keep improving. In May he was upside down with only a 40 percent approval rating; 56 percent disapproved. By August, his approval ratings stood at 45/53. By the time of the late October survey conducted by the liberal Public Policy Polling, the numbers had improved to 47% approve/51% disapprove. And, for the first time, Walker is above water with independents at 52% approve/44% disapprove. (Editor's note: this sentence has been clarified).
This explains why the Left is fevered to get the recall up and running ASAP. The success of the governor's public employee reforms are becoming apparent. No layoffs, no tax increases, a balanced budget, elected officials get to run the schools, and a small measure of parity has been restored between government workers and those in the private sector. In other words, It's Working!
The second reason is that the Democrats have no candidates. When Comrade Nichols is reduced to talking up a Madison firefighter as the Dems best hope, you know they're in trouble. In fact, PPP finds that Walker beats all comers except Russ Feingold -- whose 3-point margin has been eroding all summer and fall. And Russ is not running. Neither are Herb Kohl, Dave Obey, or Tom Barrett.
Milwaukee Mayor Barrett, in fact, is trying to avail himself of Walker's reforms in his city.
The third reason there will be no recall is that the Left is tapped out. It spent $24 million -- about $3 million more than Republicans -- in this summer's recall elections and has little to show for it. And, let's face it, the state employees unions are not collecting dues anymore.